As Ernest Hemingway once said, "We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master." If you love all things crafting and DIY, then you know exactly what he was talking about. Whether your passion is knitting, jewelry making, carpentry, glass blowing, or anything in between, there's always room to improve and perfect your craft even further.
Since your journey to becoming a master craftsperson will be a lifelong one, why not use your skills to make some extra money (or even a living) along the way? There's never been a better time to do just that. Ahead, we'll explore 15 of the best handmade business ideas to help get those creative juices flowing.
Getting Your DIY Handmade Business Started
Before we jump into handmade business ideas, let's discuss a couple of the key steps you can take to get your DIY business off the ground.
Consider Different Platforms
When you think of the phrase "handmade business," there's a pretty good chance you also think of Etsy. We don't blame you — with more than $1 billion in annual revenue and over 4 million active sellers as of 2020, Etsy is practically synonymous with online DIY businesses.
But believe it or not, you don't have to open an Etsy store in order to launch your own handmade business. In fact, there are other online marketplaces you can choose from depending on your needs and preferences. For example, Ravelry is an ideal platform for knitting or crocheting pattern creators, Spoonflower is perfect for fabric and home decor designers and DeviantArt makes it easy for artists to sell prints.
Let's compare the two biggest options in the game, Etsy and Amazon Handmade:
$0.20 to list an item; $0.20 to renew a listing; 5% transaction fee for each item sold (source)
$39.99 for a professional selling account (waived upon approval to become a Handmade seller); 15% of each sale (source)
The right platform for you depends on your specific needs — what matters is that you do your research into both, check how other shops selling similar items are performing and look into the steps you'll need to take in order to open your storefront.
Choose the Right Name
When you're selling unique, handcrafted items designed to pique customers' interest, it pays to have an inspired and memorable name for your business.
If you're struggling to come up with catchy handmade craft business name ideas, our Business Name Generator can help. To use it, just enter a word that's relevant to your new business (we'll use "jewelry" as an example) and let artificial intelligence handle the rest.
After a few moments, you'll be presented with dozens of potential name ideas:
Maybe you'll immediately find the perfect name for you, or maybe you'll have to build upon the generator's results in order to create a fitting option. Either way, you'll be one step closer to creating a name that catches customers' attention and captures the essence of your handmade business.
Pick Your Products
Even the catchiest business name won't mean much if you don't have anything to sell, so you'll also need to determine the types of items you'll be offering for purchase.
When deciding, remember to keep a few key factors in mind:
Turnaround time: Handmade items take time to create, whether that means a few minutes or a few days.
Shipping costs: Small and light items are relatively cheap to ship, but large or heavy ones can get pretty pricey.
Handling: Packing and moving your handmade items could prove to be a challenge depending on their size, weight and shape.
Cost of materials: Some handmade products require only inexpensive, easily accessible materials to make, while others can only be made with those that are costly or difficult to source.
Repetition: Whatever you decide to sell, you'll need to make it over and over again.
Still can't come up with the perfect handmade business idea? Here's our list of 15 ideas to get you on the right track.
15 Handmade Business Ideas You Can Start Today
You're a creative person, so this will be the fun part: actually building a business based on your handmade goods. If you're not sure where to start, try using these 15 ideas as inspiration.
Go to any craft fair, antique shop or street market, and you're bound to find plenty of jewelry. Shoppers simply love jewelry, and the same holds true on online marketplaces.
Any type of jewelry is fair game, including rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and body jewelry. You can craft your jewelry from a variety of materials besides the usual suspects of silver and gold, including:
Cloth, yarn and thread
Acrylic and resin
Bone, horn and shell
2. Craft Supplies
It comes as no surprise that the people who shop on handmade marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon Handmade also tend to be the types who enjoy crafting things themselves.
Because of that, many handmade shop owners find success from selling craft supplies to other makers.
Some types of craft supplies include:
Beads, wire, clasps and other jewelry-making supplies
Now that most of our communication happens via smartphones, handwritten letters and notes are more special than ever. Perhaps that's why stationery of all kinds is so persistently popular in the world of handmade goods.
Whether on Etsy or Amazon Handmade, popular stationery products include:
Stamps and seals
Stickers and decorative tape
Notebooks and notepads
Planners and calendars
If you choose to sell your wares on Etsy, also know that curated stationery sets and mystery grab bags are a favorite amongst shoppers.
Ancient Romans were the first to start dipping candles over 2,000 years ago, and while most people no longer need candles for light, they certainly enjoy them for their look and scent.
Whether molded into unique shapes or formulated to have an intoxicating scent, candles continue to occupy a place of honor on many shelves. To capitalize on that, you can join the other DIY experts who earn an income from selling handmade candles.
You can sell a variety of candle types for your business, including:
Hand-poured jar candles
Candles molded into decorative shapes
Beeswax pillar and taper candles
Tea lights and votive candles
Candles themed around astrology, books, movies, animals or special occasions
Not a candle person? No problem — you can also sell related products such as wax melts, incense, candleholders and candle snuffers.
5. Printable Designs
As a maker, you understand the unique satisfaction that comes with giving things your own personal touch. Perhaps that's why printable designs are so popular: With just a printer, ink and the right paper, anyone can print out a design they love to decorate just about any item under the sun.
And since Etsy allows shops to offer digital files, printable designs are big sellers on the platform. (Note that as of 2022, Amazon Handmade doesn't give shops the same capability.)
From designs for decorating coffee tumblers to those meant for organizing a busy schedule, suffice it to say that the sky's the limit when it comes to printable files you can sell on Etsy.
6. Hair Accessories
Just as is the case with jewelry, hair accessories are always a popular choice for shoppers looking to add a little something extra to their outfits without spending a fortune. As an added bonus, hair accessories are also a staple of bridal parties.
If you decide to build your handmade business around hair accessories, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. For instance, you can sell hair accessories like:
Ribbons and bows
Clips and barrettes
Bobby and hairpins
Scrunchies and elastic bands
Sticks, forks and combs
Whether you want to make delicate, pearl-studded hairpins fit for a bride or colorful, eye-catching clips designed to make a statement, there are shoppers who are looking for the items you can offer.
As more and more consumers learn about the downside of fast fashion, an increasing number are turning to independent handmade clothing sellers for a wardrobe refresh.
Regardless of the marketplace you choose to set up shop on, you can focus your handmade business on selling:
Screen printed T-shirts and tank tops
Hoodies and sweaters
Hats, scarves and ties
Dresses and skirts
Pants and leggings
Shoes and socks
Pajamas, robes and undergarments
Halloween and cosplay costumes
Wedding dresses and separates
So whether you're into designing, printing, sewing or all of the above, you can put your talents to use in a handmade clothing business.
8. Bags and Purses
Though they may be utilitarian by nature, bags and purses also offer a perfect way to express personal style. As such, they're an ideal candidate for making and selling on the handmade marketplace of your choice.
No matter what material or style you prefer to work with, there's a type of bag for you (and your customers). Potential options for your business include:
Screen-printed tote bags
Cosmetics and pencil pouches
9. Wall Décor
When people want to spruce up their home with art that's not available at Ikea or Target, many turn to handmade marketplaces for unique and original décor. From small and inexpensive pieces to large artworks that take up an entire wall, there's a market for every type of wall décor.
If you want to sell wall décor on Etsy or Amazon Handmade, you can offer a wide array of products. These include:
Framed and unframed prints
Original paints, drawings and illustrations
Shelves and hooks
Garlands and pennants
Hint: If you're selling small-batch framed artwork, you can save some cash by buying frames secondhand — most thrift stores typically have them in spades.
10. Pet Accessories
Pet owners spent more than $100 billion on their furry (and feathered and scaled) friends in 2021, and that number is expected to exceed $300 billion by 2029:
If you want a piece of that pie, you can start creating handmade items geared toward pets and their owners. Some of the many options include:
Custom-engraved name tags
Collars and leashes
Shirts, sweaters and outerwear
Beds and blankets
Carriers and houses
Booties and socks
Food and water bowls and stands
Urns and memorials
Toys and puzzles.
11. Knitting, Crocheting, Embroidery or Sewing
There's nothing like a cozy blanket, hand-knit scarf or intricate embroidery piece to warm up a living space. So if you love the fiber arts, know that there are people willing to pay for the goods you create.
Many other handmade businesses have been successful in selling:
Knitted sweaters, hats, socks, gloves and blankets
Crocheted clothing, bags, animals, toys and wall hangings
Embroidered pillows, wall decorations, collars, patches, pet collars and shirts
Hand-sewn quilts, bandanas, clothing, flags and bags
Pro tip: Since knitting, crocheting, embroidery and sewing are such popular hobbies, there's also a large market for downloadable PDF project patterns on Etsy.
12. Beauty and Grooming Products
Spurred by the "clean beauty" movement and consumers' increased desire for healthy personal care products, handmade beauty and grooming products have become hot sellers on Etsy and Amazon Handmade.
Just because you're starting a handmade business doesn't mean you have to literally make everything by hand. That's certainly the case for furniture remodelers and upcyclers, many of whom have found buyers for their one-of-a-kind pieces.
Depending on your preferences and the space you have available, you can paint, refinish and re-sell furniture of all shapes and sizes, including:
Dining and end tables
Chairs, stools and benches
Jewelry and storage boxes
Wardrobes and dressers
Racks and shelves
Cabinet knobs and drawer pulls
Casters and legs
Nightstands and bed frames
14. Tech Accessories
It's no secret that our lives are saturated in technology, from smartphones to laptops to tablets. But as many craftspeople on Etsy and Amazon Handmade have discovered, so many pieces of tech means lots of opportunities to accessorize — a fact that may prove to be lucrative if you create the right items.
If you want to earn money by selling handmade tech accessories online, consider making:
Phone cases, grips, charms, stands and holders
Touch screen styluses
Video game console cases
Controller and headphone mounts
Tablet and laptop cases
Camera straps and cases
Keyboard wrist rest
Mousepads and desk mats
Keycaps for mechanical keyboards
Storage for USB sticks or hard drives
Cord organizers and ties
15. Wooden Items
There's nothing like a lovingly carved, sanded and oiled piece of woodwork, and the people shopping on handmade marketplaces know that better than anyone. So if you like working with wood, you could be sitting on a major money-making opportunity.
In addition to furniture, some of the wooden items that sell on Etsy and Amazon Handmade include:
Storage boxes and trays
Electronics docks and stands
Cups, bowls and utensils
Coasters and cutting boards
Signs and wall decor
Keychains and figurines
Children's toys and blocks
In the end, it doesn't matter what types of DIY projects you prefer or what kind of handicraft you're best at — the bottom line is that if you enjoy making handmade items, you can turn that hobby into a side hustle (or even a career path) by starting your own handmade business.
And if you're intimidated by the idea of starting a business, don't be! We're DIY-ers too, so we created an online course of DIY entrepreneurs that guides you through every step of the process. Trust us; it's easier than you think.
So break out your tools and clear off your workspace — it's time to start crafting a business.
Carrie Buchholz-Powers is a Colorado-based writer who’s been creating content since 2013. From digital marketing to ecommerce to land conservation, she has experience in a wide range of fields and loves learning about them all. Carrie is fond of history, animals and beauty in equal measure. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, playing video games and exploring Colorado's prairies and mountains with her husband.